Yesterday was a major milestone in my journey to wellness – a successful pre-op check-in and compliments on my one very high blood pressure. Today was generally good; a great workout, participating in a public protest (we really do need to deal with the climate crisis), positive results on the scale, and I read a great book by Pennie Nicola called The Sleeved Life: A Patient-to-Patient Guide on Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Weight-Loss Surgery. It was also a day of incredible struggle with the desire to eat anything other than another chocolate shake – a struggle that I lost.
I have done so many diets over the last 25 years – Weightwatchers (too many times to count), Jenny Craig, elimination, low carb, low fat, pills and supplements, and a few others not worth mentioning! What I didn’t know – and what none of the commercial weight-loss companies tell you – is that “once a person becomes morbidly obese, the body changes on a hormonal and chemical level” (Nicola, 2018, p. 41). This confirmed something my own doctor told me when I experienced weight gain after I stopped using the appetite suppressant Saxenda – my body liked my maximum weight and it wants to get back to it!! Nicola also referenced a study by Wing and Phelan that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2005 – the researchers found that as low as 2% of morbidly obese people manage to maintain weight loss through exercise and diet alone. The key here is how overweight someone is because they also note that on average, 20% of people do maintain weight loss of at least 10% of the weight initially lost.
So some of you are likely wondering how far I went off the rails today – it could have been worse but it still wasn’t good! I walked past my favourite gelato spot (twice), I walked past four different fast food (fake food is what my Bariatric Dr. calls it) joints, and thought I had made it safely home. But I had made a big mistake – I let myself get too hungry. I walked over 10 km, did some strength training, and expended over 1100 calories through movement (or so my apple watch tells me) but I had only consumed 450 calories and I didn’t ensure that I was drinking enough water (helps you feel full). I got home and had a shake but it was too late – I was ravenous and worse…I was fixated on food. So after fighting it for a while (3 hours) I gave in and made myself popcorn – complete with melted butter.
Here’s the difference between tonight and even a few months ago – let alone a few years ago – I’m letting it go. I’m not hiding that eating in shame (I may not brag about it to my surgeon though) nor am I going to spend the next 11 days beating myself up about it. I need to figure out the reasons why (I listed a few above but there are always psychological reasons too) and get back on track. So today, I leave you with this thought…
I have always been fairly active but I have struggled with my weight since I stopped playing high school sport but still ate like a high school athlete. I become obese in my late teens/early twenties as I became depressed over the loss of my athlete identity. I have dieted constantly – something that has ultimately damaged my ability to achieve weight loss through ‘just burning more calories than I consume’. More important, I have learned that a journey to health is like any good logging road on Van Isle – full of potholes, washboards, and detours – and if you have a good map you’ll eventually arrive at your destination. It may not be the originally planned destination but you’ll arrive where you were meant to be!
Who Am I?
There are many different ways to describe myself but for the purposes of this blog...I'm a 45 year old woman who is finally prioritizing her health and wellbeing. I'm also a professor, researcher, and avid traveller but have spent much of my adult life being defined (in whole or part) by my weight.